On this day July 23, 1967
In Detroit, Michigan, one of the worst riots in United States history begins on 12th Street in the predominantly African American inner city (43 killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned).
The precipitating event was a police raid of a blind pig on the corner of 12th Street and Clairmount on the city’s near westside. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in U.S. history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit’s 1943 race riot.
To help end the disturbance, the Michigan National Guard was ordered into Detroit by Governor George Romney and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in United States Army troops. The result was forty-three dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests and more than 2,000 buildings burned down.
The scale of the riot was eclipsed only by the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The riot was prominently featured in the news media, with live television coverage, extensive newspaper reporting, and an extensive cover story in Time magazine and Life on August 4, 1967. The Detroit Free Press won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage.
Over the period of five days, forty-three people died, of whom 33 were black. The other damages were calculated as follows:
- 467 injured: 182 civilians, 167 Detroit police officers, 83 Detroit firefighters, 17 National Guard troops, 16 State Police officers, 3 U.S. Army soldiers.
- 7,231 arrested: 6,528 adults, 703 juveniles; 6,407 blacks, 824 whites. The youngest, 4; the oldest, 82. Half of those arrested had no criminal record.
- 2,509 stores looted or burned, 388 families homeless or displaced and 412 buildings burned or damaged enough to be demolished. Dollar losses from arson and looting ranged from $40 million to $80 million.